Bangkok; Cultural phenomenon, shopping heaven and tourist treasure. one of the most cosmopolitan, contrasting and, above all, compelling of Asian cities.
The Grand Palace
Grand Palace, Bangkok has served as the home of the King and the Court for as long as 150 years. It is only in the twentieth century that Thai kings discontinued living in the palace but The Grand Palace, Bangkok still remains the seat of power and spirituality of the Thai kingdom. No longer a royal residence, Grand Palace (The), Bangkok now used occasional ceremonial purposes.
The Grand Palace complex follows the general outline of the Ayutthaya Palaces. The Outer Court, close to the entrance used to house the important government departments and was supposed to the major operational area. Adjacent to the Outer Court is the renowned Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Fit to be counted among one of the wonders of the world, the Buddha image carved from one piece of jade is the most venerated religious object in Thailand. The Central Court of The Grand Palace, Bangkok comprise of the residence of the kings and the halls from where the state business were conducted. The visitors are allowed the view of two throne halls that remains open only on weekdays. The inner court happened to be a miniature city inhabited by the royal consorts and the daughters. It is a pity that the visitors are debarred from entering the Inner Court.
Wat Phra Kaew
The Wat Phra Kaew (English Temple of the Emerald Buddha) is regarded as the most sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand. It is located in the historic center of Bangkok (district Phra Nakhon), within the grounds of the Grand Palace. The construction of the temple started when King Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke (Rama I) moved the capital from Thonburi to Bangkok in 1785. Unlike other temples it does not contain living quarters for monks; rather, it has only the highly decorated holy buildings, statues, and pagodas. The main building is the central ubosoth, which houses the Emerald Buddha. Even though it is small in size it is the most important icon for Thai people.
Temple of Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho)
Wat Pho is the famous temple of the huge reclining Buddha statue. It is 20 acres large and the largest wat in Bangkok. It is the oldest statue as it was built around 200 years before Bangkok became Thailand’s capital. However, today the Wat bears practically no similitude to the originally constructed one, as it was almost fully rebuilt by Rama when the capital was moved to Bangkok. The highly impressive gold plated reclining Buddha is 46 meters long and 15 meters high, and is designed to demonstrate the passing of the Buddha into nirvana. The feet and the eyes are carved with mother-of-pearl adornment, and the feet also show the 108 auspicious distinctiveness of the true Buddha. Wat Pho is also famous as Thailand’s first university, and is the center for traditional Thai massage. The rich, famous and powerful have all been known to come here. Inscribed on stone in the walls of Wat Pho are all that was known about Thai massage dating from the reign of King Rama III. The large grounds of Wat Pho contain more than 1000 Buddha images in total, most from the ruins of the former capitals Ayutthaya and Sukhothai. The grounds are split in two by Chetuphon road. The northern section is generally the only one where most people go to, and it includes a large temple hall, enclosed by 394 bronze Buddha images. Outside the temple hall, there are 152 marble slabs depicting the second half of the epic Ramakian story.
Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun)
Temple of Dawn or Wat Arun is one of the famous and renowned landmarks in Bangkok. Its origin is traced back to 1782 to 1809 A.D. which was the Ayutthaya period. King Rama II and King Rama III expanded its architecture. However, its completion took place under the rule of King Rama IV. Temple of Dawn is a beautiful massive structure which consists of a long Khmer-style tower accompanied by four other smaller towers in the vicinity. There is a huge difference in opinions as per the size of the main tower is concerned. According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the Khmer-style tower is 104m high whereas other sources estimate that the tower is 80 to 85m high. Wat Arun is decorated with small patches of porcelain. These patches shine in sun. Besides, this temple in Bangkok is a wonderful site for photographers. Its beauty touches peak in the later afternoon when the sun sets in the sky. The grounds of Temple of Dawn boast of wonderful murals and a main Buddha image supposedly designed by King Rama II. Located in the tranquil and beautiful vicinity, Temple of Dawn or Wat Arun in Bangkok is also popular for housing the notable Emerald Buddha image. However, after a short period of time this image was shifted in the nearby Wat Phra Kaew.